Knight’s Cross: German & Axis Armed Forces 1939-1945 Volume XII
David Lyne-Gordon

David Lyne-Gordon’s series about Knight’s cross recipients of the German and Axis armed forces aims at providing the reader with information about each recipient’s awards and military service. Volume XII provides the reader with 113 summarizing Knight’s cross holder short biographies. The biographies are listed alphabetically. How the Knight’s cross holders have been selected is something I’m uncertain about. It is certainly not alphabetical order or the date of the award.

Included, placed in the beginning of the book, is a translation of the supreme commander of the German armed forces (Adolf Hitler) war directive no. 33. This document from July 1941 concerns the war on the eastern front. One must say that this feels somewhat superfluous. It would have been much better to include documents regarding decorations and awards- a topic that Hitler also spent much attention and interest to. However, since I haven’t read all of the volumes in Lyne-Gordon’s series it is quite possible that such documents and information has already been covered.

The Luftwaffe as well as the higher ranking officer biographies is much more detailed than the other ones. Here one can for example find listings of air victories made by the fighter pilots. The biographies are not very extensive and are more to be used as a brief summary of a Knight’s cross holders military career.

Information about one of the Knight’s cross holders, Adolf Rüd, is missing. This was deeply disappointing. Some basic data, like date of birth, place of birth and so on is sometimes lacking. However, this data has been published in other books and could also be found in other media. Lack of proof reading is the probable explanation to why Helmut Renschler’s surname has been misspelt Rentschler throughout the book.

More detailed biographies of Knight’s cross holders can be found in other books (although not in the English language), for example the Biblio Verlag series. Still, comparing Lyne-Gordon’s books with the literature written on the topic in German would be a bit unfair. Lyne-Gordon’s series does provide an important role in filling the information gap in the English literature on the topic. His books should preferably be used together with other books, thus having them complementing each other. David Lyne-Gordon also recommends a couple of websites where one can find more information about Knight’s cross holders. Here one can fill information gaps about birthdates and such which Lyne-Gordon was unable to provide when writing his books. For further volumes I hope that more attention will be given to layout and structure. Overall I think this series has potential as it provides English speaking readers with information generally hard to find in this language.

(Reviewed by Daniel L)
Thanks to the author for the review copy.

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